Papers We Love Conf 2023

September 21-22, 2023 / St. Louis, Missouri

Benjamin Titzer

Carnegie Mellon University

Photo of Benjamin Titzer

Inside the Wizard Research Engine

WebAssembly offers the hope of a fast, portable low-level target that competes with native code performance, but without many of the drawbacks of native code. Born in the Web, Wasm now runs in many contexts, such as embedded systems, cloud and edge deployments, and blockchains. With new features coming to Wasm that add garbage-collected data, first-class functions, and stack switching, it offers the tantalizing opportunity to retarget many programming languages for greater safety and portability. Yet these new features offer new challenges, and some of the same challenges facing managed runtimes. In this talk, I will outline my work on a new Wasm engine, Wizard, designed for instrumentation, dynamic analysis, and experimentation in VM design. In particular, I’ll cover its innovative in-place interpreter and the instrumentation capabilities that unlocks.

Ben L. Titzer is a Principal Researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. A former member of the V8 team at Google, he co-founded the WebAssembly project, led the team that built the implementation in V8, and led the initial design of V8's TurboFan optimizing compiler. Prior to that he was a researcher at Sun Labs and contributed to the Maxine Java-in-Java VM. Currently, he is working on a new Wasm research engine and several WebAssembly-related research projects. He is the designer and main implementer of the Virgil programming language.